DANVILLE, Va. – A Virginia woman is now raising nine children, after her childhood friend died of cancer.
Beth Laitkep of Danville, Virginia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. According to the Washington Post, she was pregnant with her sixth child at the time.
Her son, Ace, was delivered by emergency C-section at the time, so she could immediately undergo chemotherapy treatments.
The treatments helped her beat cancer once, but recently it came back.
Laitkep’s close friend Stephanie Culley, remembers getting the devastating news from the doctor. Culley and Laitkep have been friends since high school.
“About a week after she was admitted into the hospital, and the doctor called me. I was at work and he told me that it had spread to her brain,” Culley told WSET. “And there was nothing they could do.”
According to People, as Laitkep’s condition got worse, her husband abandoned her and his family. Laitkep had to rely on friends for support.
Laitkep’s biggest worry were her six children: Will, 15; Selena, 14; Jaxon, 11; Dallas, 10; Lily, 5 and Ace, 2.
That’s when she asked Culley an enormous favor: to raise her six children after she passed. Culley already had three children of her own and worried about taking on such a big responsibility.
Culley consulted her husband and thought a long time before finally making the decision to welcome the kids into her family.
“I had complete peace that I was going to be the mother of 9 kids,” said Culley.
Laitkep passed away on May 19 at the age of 39.
Culley is also organizing a benefit fundraiser on June 25 in South Boston.
Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 1661 South Boston, Va. 24592.